In the midst of a global pandemic, the STEM Teacher Internship programme goes from strength to strength: The greatest number of interns and hosts to date.

On 27th September 2021 Dublin City University hosted a remote graduation ceremony for the 45 pre-service teachers that successfully completed a STEM Teacher Internship (STInt), working remotely, across 25 organisations during summer 2021. Each participating intern was presented with a certificate of completion by Professor Anne Looney, Executive Dean of DCU Institute of Education. Interns that successfully completed all of the programme requirements were also awarded a STInt Alumni digital badge.

The STInt programme, which was started in 2016 by Dublin City University together with Accenture and the 30% Club, enables future STEM teachers to engage with unique STEM experiences across a range of industrial sectors. Through engagement in 12-week paid internships, pre-service teachers gain hands-on experiences of a wide range of careers and opportunities available within STEM industries. This enables primary and post-primary teachers to inspire future generations of their own students to develop the STEM competencies needed to thrive and shape our rapidly changing world, in a globally-connected society. Through the support of Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) and Science Foundation Ireland, the programme has grown over the past six years and to date 115 students have completed STInt internships across thirty-three host organisations. 

DCU leaders of STEM teacher education – Associate Professor Eilish McLoughlin, School of Physical Sciences and Professor Deirdre Butler, School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies, lead the STEM Teacher Internship Programme. The pre-service teachers are students from DCU’s primary and post-primary teacher education programme – including BSc Science Education, BSc Physical Education with Biology/Mathematics, BEd (Primary), Professional Masters in Education (PME) primary/post-primary. In 2021, students from Maynooth University’s BSc/MSc Science Education and University College Dublin’s BSc/MSc Science Education were facilitated to participate in the STInt programme.

The 2021 host organisations include Abbvie, Accenture, AIB, Alexion, APC & VLE Therapeutics, Avanade, BiOrbic, BT, Citi, Deloitte, DIAS Dunsink Observatory, Ericsson, EY, Fidelity Investment, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, MSD, PWC, SSE, Virgin Media, VistaMilk, Vodafone and Xilinx. 

Associate Professor Eilish McLoughlin said:

The newly introduced STInt badge recognises the courage and commitment of the pre-service teachers that have made invaluable contributions to their own understandings, the advancement of STEM knowledge in their host organisations which will contribute to shaping shared futures for the benefit of society.

Professor Deirdre Butler said:

Formerly a face-to-face experience, the STInt Programme had to pivot to become a remote-working programme due to the global pandemic. Rather than being seen as an obstacle, this enabled the STInt interns to develop the resilience and grit to be able to adapt to changing times and develop core competencies necessary to live and thrive in the complex connected world we live in. This combined with the range of skills gained during their STInt will, in turn, inspire them to design innovative learning experiences for their own students.

Professor Anne Looney, Executive Dean DCU Institute of Education said:

While always Innovative, this year’s STInt reached new heights of innovation, offering a virtual experience for our teacher interns from DCU, UCD and Maynooth University. From its small beginnings, this programme is now becoming available across more institutions in Ireland, and to more student teachers. It’s beginning to be noticed across the world as a completely unique programme in initial teacher education, generating interest from businesses, governments and higher education institutions.  The team at DCU is generating more than excitement about the STInt; they are also generating evidence of impact that will form the basis for further expansion and development of the programme across the island of Ireland and beyond. The STInt is here to stay. 

Programme Website:  www.stemteacherinternships.ie/

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